In the generations gone by He permitted all the nations to go their own ways.
God also stated concerning Israel: “I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, who walk in the way which is not good, following their own thoughts.” (Isaiah 65:2)
Question: Since Calvinism teaches Determinism, how would God be permitting the nations to go their “own ways,” and Israel to follow its “own thoughts,” if God eternally scripted and decreed their every thought, word and deed?
Answer: The fact that God “permitted” it, shows that He is in control. However, when you speak of permission, you don’t necessarily think in terms of causing that which you permit. Consider the father of the prodigal son. Would you conclude that the father of the prodigal son had caused his son’s misdeeds, when he permitted him to leave? Of course not. But that’s precisely what Calvinist logic would require.
John Calvin: “This plainly teaches us what human wisdom and understanding can do in following the way of salvation. All nations, he says, have gone ‘their own way’; that is, they have wandered in darkness and death. This is like saying that there is no spark of true reason in the whole world.” (Acts: Calvin, Crossway Classic Commentaries, p.239, emphasis mine)
John Calvin: “But Paul and Barnabas did not here give any reason why the Lord should have allowed the world to stray for so long.” (Acts: Calvin, Crossway Classic Commentaries, p.239, emphasis mine)
But according to Calvinism, since all of it is scripted by God, the answer to Calvin’s question of “why” the world strayed for so long is because God simply put that in the script? For Calvinists who believe that God scripted whatsoever comes to pass, isn’t ironic to see Scripture speaking of God having “permitted” something? What do Determinists do with divine permission?
Question: Can you imagine J.R.R. Tolkien, author
of the classic, Lord of the Rings, saying that he
“permitted” Sauron to form the one ring, and
permitted scores of orcs and goblins to follow
him? Moreover, would it make any sense to say
that Sauron was merely acting according to “his
own” nature, if everything he does is scripted by
Answer: The concept of permission is completely
incompatible with Determinism, and points only
to one thing: Free Will.
Having jettisoned un-bibical Determinism for biblical Permission, then for God to permit the nations to “go their own ways,” indicates to me that the plight of starving children in the world (i.e. children in Africa dying of starvation on a daily basis) is something that’s entirely a byproduct of man not wanting God in the world. They’ve imagined a world without God, and they got one, and then they blame God for the world the results.